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This article is an excerpt from "The Canopy" Join the Community in supporting healthy forests.

Getting involved with a unified collective voice transcends political parties. Being involved with a voice that communicates forest restoration as a priority for land that has been lost to catastrophic fire begins with you. Become involved. Write letters to members of government, your local community leaders, share posts, talk to your professional clubs or friends and make a donation to help the efforts. Join us by supporting our efforts in one of our many forestry tours, youth & community education or tree planting events. Together we can be collective Communities for Healthy Forests.

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When Do You Admit That You Are Wrong?

By CHF Executive Director Melissa Cribbins
 

As humans, one of the hardest things for us to do is admit that we are wrong. We will come up with endless excuses and explanations to explain why things haven’t turned out the way that we predicted. None of us want to admit that our idea, thought, or plan wasn’t right after all.

So, when will the federal government admit that their fire management efforts aren’t working?According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), who tracks such things, the average annual acreage burned by wildfires in the United States has increased over the past 30 years. In the CBO’s recent report, they found that an average of 8 million acres burned each year in wildfires between 2017 and 2021, more than double the average amount from 1987 to 1991. More importantly, a fire on federal lands is, on average, five times the size of one on non-federal lands. And if you want to talk about costs, average annual federal spending on fire suppression totaled $2.5 billion dollars between 2016 and 2020.More acres burned, larger fires, and higher costs of fire suppression. Not a great trifecta.

With larger fires comes greater impacts on communities. There are so many communities that are experiencing the impacts of megafires that have never dealt with fire impacts before. The smoke hurts our communities. All of us know someone with respiratory issues that are not able to go outside on smoky days. We all know businesses that have cancelled events because of all of the smoke in the air. We have made decisions about what to do on our weekend because wildfire smoke has made it impossible to just relax and enjoy our community. And we know one thing for sure — this smoke is not helping our economy one little bit.So, when do we admit that we are wrong? That our current path of forest management is not achieving any of our goals? We are not protecting habitat for wildlife. Our biggest trees are burning. We aren’t funding our schools. We haven’t created a new recreation economy. Our citizens have done everything that has been asked of them. It is time for the government to do their part, and admit that the last thirty years of forest management policy has done nothing but burn down some of our most pristine forests and pollute our air. It’s time to admit that the policies were wrong. We need to find a new path forward, one that includes fuels treatments, salvage logging, and road access to public lands. We need to reduce the number of acres lost to catastrophic wildfires. We need to get our children back outside.
 
 
We can make a difference, but we have to speak up and make sure that our voices are heard. Call or email your congressmen today and tell them you deserve better forest management.